Ending Marijuana Prohibition in 2013

Rob Kampia

Executive director, Marijuana Policy Project

 

Unless people have been hiding under a rock this past couple months, they know that more than 55 percent of voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana on November 6. As a result, many people have grand expectations of how we’re going to get closer to ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S. this year.

Here is what I think we can reasonably accomplish by the end of 2013:

1. Decriminalize Marijuana in Vermont: Gov. Pete Shumlin (D), a strong supporter of decriminalizing marijuana, partially campaigned on the issue and easily won re-election on November 6 with 58% of the vote. The Vermont Llegislature is poised to pass the bill he wants, so this legislation could become law by this summer.

2. Legalize Medical Marijuana in New Hampshire: Incoming Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is a strong supporter of medical marijuana, so we expect her to sign a medical marijuana bill similar to those vetoed by former Gov. John Lynch (D) in 2009 and 2012.

3. Build Support for Legalization in the Rhode Island Legislature:
We successfully legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized marijuana possession in Rhode Island in 2009 and 2012, respectively. There is now considerable momentum to tax and regulate (T&R) marijuana like alcohol, so we need to ensure that Rhode Island’s state legislature becomes the first to do so.

4. Increase Support for Legalization in California, Maine, and Oregon: There will be a sincere effort to pass T&R bills through the legislatures in these three states. Should they fall short, MPP and its allies will pursue statewide ballot initiatives in November 2016, at which time all three will be expected to pass.

5. Build Our Base of Support Online: People have said that the Internet is marijuana legalization’s best friend, and this could not have been more evident than it was last year. Campaigns mobilized their supporters, organizations raised funds, and the public was able to follow the progress in real time. Prohibitionists, who have depended on the government for its largess for years, are now at a disadvantage. Private citizens simply do not want to donate to them, and most information about marijuana is now reaching the public without being run through their filter.

6. Continue the Steady Drumbeat in the Media:
National and local media outlets are covering the marijuana issue more than ever before. Communicating to voters through news coverage is the most cost-efficient way to increase public support for ending marijuana prohibition, so we need to keep the issue in the spotlight.

7. Build Support for Medical Marijuana in Congress: There are already approximately 185 members of the U.S. House who want to stop the U.S. Justice Department from spending taxpayer money on raiding medical marijuana businesses in the 18 states (and DC) where medical marijuana is legal. We want to reach 218 votes on this amendment, thereby ensuring the amendment’s transfer to the U.S. Senate for an up-or-down vote.

8. Build Support for Ending Marijuana Prohibition in Congress: Last year, the first-ever bill to end the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana attracted 21 sponsors. Our goal is to expand the number of sponsors to more than two-dozen during the 2013-2014 election season.

Looking outside our borders, we’re also seeing progress in Colombia, Uruguay, and Chile, which have all been steadily moving away from marijuana prohibition. Although this is good news, most members of the U.S. Congress do not care much about what South American countries think on marijuana policy, so we should temper the wonderful developments south of the U.S. border with limited expectations of what will happen in our nation’s capital.

Ultimately, the U.S. is the primary exporter of prohibition around the world. If we can solve the problem here, the rest of the world will have far more freedom to conduct their own experiments with regulating marijuana.

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Ending Marijuana Prohibition in 2013

Rob Kampia

Executive director, Marijuana Policy Project

 

Unless people have been hiding under a rock this past couple months, they know that more than 55 percent of voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana on November 6. As a result, many people have grand expectations of how we’re going to get closer to ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S. this year.

Here is what I think we can reasonably accomplish by the end of 2013:

1. Decriminalize Marijuana in Vermont: Gov. Pete Shumlin (D), a strong supporter of decriminalizing marijuana, partially campaigned on the issue and easily won re-election on November 6 with 58% of the vote. The Vermont Llegislature is poised to pass the bill he wants, so this legislation could become law by this summer.

2. Legalize Medical Marijuana in New Hampshire: Incoming Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is a strong supporter of medical marijuana, so we expect her to sign a medical marijuana bill similar to those vetoed by former Gov. John Lynch (D) in 2009 and 2012.

3. Build Support for Legalization in the Rhode Island Legislature:
We successfully legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized marijuana possession in Rhode Island in 2009 and 2012, respectively. There is now considerable momentum to tax and regulate (T&R) marijuana like alcohol, so we need to ensure that Rhode Island’s state legislature becomes the first to do so.

4. Increase Support for Legalization in California, Maine, and Oregon: There will be a sincere effort to pass T&R bills through the legislatures in these three states. Should they fall short, MPP and its allies will pursue statewide ballot initiatives in November 2016, at which time all three will be expected to pass.

5. Build Our Base of Support Online: People have said that the Internet is marijuana legalization’s best friend, and this could not have been more evident than it was last year. Campaigns mobilized their supporters, organizations raised funds, and the public was able to follow the progress in real time. Prohibitionists, who have depended on the government for its largess for years, are now at a disadvantage. Private citizens simply do not want to donate to them, and most information about marijuana is now reaching the public without being run through their filter.

6. Continue the Steady Drumbeat in the Media:
National and local media outlets are covering the marijuana issue more than ever before. Communicating to voters through news coverage is the most cost-efficient way to increase public support for ending marijuana prohibition, so we need to keep the issue in the spotlight.

7. Build Support for Medical Marijuana in Congress: There are already approximately 185 members of the U.S. House who want to stop the U.S. Justice Department from spending taxpayer money on raiding medical marijuana businesses in the 18 states (and DC) where medical marijuana is legal. We want to reach 218 votes on this amendment, thereby ensuring the amendment’s transfer to the U.S. Senate for an up-or-down vote.

8. Build Support for Ending Marijuana Prohibition in Congress: Last year, the first-ever bill to end the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana attracted 21 sponsors. Our goal is to expand the number of sponsors to more than two-dozen during the 2013-2014 election season.

Looking outside our borders, we’re also seeing progress in Colombia, Uruguay, and Chile, which have all been steadily moving away from marijuana prohibition. Although this is good news, most members of the U.S. Congress do not care much about what South American countries think on marijuana policy, so we should temper the wonderful developments south of the U.S. border with limited expectations of what will happen in our nation’s capital.

Ultimately, the U.S. is the primary exporter of prohibition around the world. If we can solve the problem here, the rest of the world will have far more freedom to conduct their own experiments with regulating marijuana.

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Marc Emery on Ron Paul: “The Great Man Has Left The Building”

By Marc Emery – Sunday, November 25 2012

 

Ron PaulMarc Supports Ron Paul

Ron Paul, my hero and great political and moral influence, gave his farewell speech to Congress on November 14th after 23 years of serving as the lonely, often marginalized, voice of reason and stalwart of constitutional principles in the House of Representatives.

In those years Ron Paul always voted against any financing for the drug war and the drug czar’s office. He sponsored bills to legalize possession of marijuana, industrial hemp, and medical marijuana; a Truth in Trials Act, allowing introduction of state medical marijuana laws in federal trials; bills to end the US military empire abroad, Plan Colombia, the Patriot Act (and not voting for it in the first place), and the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia (training of foreign military elite in torture and repression). [See the video clips and more links about Ron Paul’s position and action on marijuana and the drug war in Marc’s December 2011 blog post: “Support Ron Paul for President!“]

Never did Ron Paul ever vote for or support any legislation that restricted our liberties, allowed government secrecy, carried out the war in Iraq, maintained the US military abroad, expanded surveillance of the US people, debased the money, raised taxes, imposed censorship, or any other unconstitutional incursion into the rights of the citizens or the states.

He has been the greatest Congressman in the history of the United States, for he was, and is, the only true patriot to ever have served in the Congress honoring the US Constitution in a devotion that was, thankfully, fanatical and unwavering.

You must watch and/or read Ron Paul’s farewell speech. (Click Here or watch the video below.) It is one of the vital documents of our time. Not a false word is spoken or written. Clearly and plainly, Ron Paul explains what went wrong, why liberty is fundamental to all of human success and progress, asks all the right questions, and lays blame appropriately – at the feet of government and the citizens who enable governments to do so much of the evil that gets done.

When I first read Ayn Rand’s “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” in October, 1979, and changed the philosophical course of my life to reflect those values, I asked my new friends who had introduced me to the book, “Does anyone in politics actually adhere to these principles? ” Yes, he said; “a Congressman named Ron Paul”.

In the US presidential election weeks ago, the media seemed to have a field day denigrating the philosophy of Ayn Rand as part of their smear/criticism of Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Yet Paul Ryan is a warmonger, a devout Roman Catholic, and an adherent of the drug war. No believer in the supernatural and warfare state/Imperial American Empire could ever be a credible acolyte of Ayn Rand.

Ron Paul is the proper standard to compare Ayn Rand, although there are some differences. Ron Paul is a Christian, true, and he is opposed to abortion – though as a man who has delivered 4,000 babies as an obstetrician-gynecologist physician, it’s at least understandable. But importantly, Ron Paul doesn’t believe any woman should ever be punished for seeking or having an abortion. He doesn’t believe the Constitution allows the federal government to criminalize abortion, and that is why he received virtually no support from the anti-abortion conservatives that Rick Santorum did. Ron Paul’s influences are varied, and include Murray Rothbard, Ludwig Von Mises, Frederick Hayek, and Lysander Spooner; in fact, Ayn Rand is only one of many of Ron Paul’s influences. He is a well-read individual.

I believe Ron Paul left Congress because, plainly, Congress is made up of collectivist statists (kind of a redundancy, I know) and 23 years is enough punishment. Now he is going on a hopefully long tour of universities to speak to students and his people about liberty and the nature of man and politics. I wish him well. I hope he runs for President again in 2016.

Ron Paul was always the best friend we anti-prohibitionists have ever had in Congress. Never once did he ever support any aspect of the drug war. Yet most of the legalization movement chose to ignore him or pay him no respect. It makes me sad in my heart to know that most in our community – and society at large – are politically ignorant, biased, and most often plainly ambivalent when it comes to political activism, and when it came time to support Ron Paul in the primaries in 2008 and 2012, most of our people did not heed the call to help this great man, this once-in-a century man.

Even in his farewell address to Congress, he does not forget us.

His first question is: “Why are sick people who use medical marijuana in prison?”

He also asks amongst his many pertinent questions:

“Why can’t Americans manufacture rope and other products from hemp?”

“Why should there be mandatory sentences, even up to life, for crimes without victims-as our drug laws require?”

“Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?”

“Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world – the one between Mexico and the US?”

At 78, Ron Paul is still in great health, so I hope he has many years, decades I should hope, to remind us of where we should be going, and how we can get there, and why we must put heart and soul (and money) into that effort.

It’s such a disappointment that Canada has no equivalent giant in politics, no great statesman philosopher politician to give the people a clear vision of liberty and freedom. All we really have is second- and third-rate statists at best, grubby thugs at worse, in institutions under the dictatorial thumb of a soulless Prime Minister and wholly inadequate Premiers.

Ron Paul. The great man of the people has left the building.

CONTINUE TO STORY…